The Philadelphia 76ers were, and are terrible. No more evidence was needed than their starting off the season 0-17. For a while, it looked like they might never win a game this year. But then they caught a break. A game with the Minnesota Timberwolves, bottom feeders themselves. Besides losing superstar Kevin Love to free agency last year, they were without three of their starters due to injury. Finally, mercifully, the Sixers won a game. Still, if they continue their 1-17 ways (and there's little to suggest they won't), they're definitely on a pace to set the all-time season record for futility in the NBA.
In a full 82 game season, that dubious honor is still held by -- the Philadelphia 76ers. Back in 1973 they bumbled their way to a 9-73 record. Their current version is going to have to pick it up some to avoid all-time notoriety. Yes, franchises in many sports go up, go down, and back up/down again over the years. Such is the nature of the business with free agency, draft picks, trades, etc. Few, like the San Antonio Spurs/New England Patriots, remain elite for long stretches of time. Conversely, there aren't many teams like the Detroit Lions/Chicago Cubs which haven't been seriously competitive in decades. Sooner or later, the vast majority of teams get their "shot". They might not win it (the Minnesota Vikings and Buffalo Bills both had 4 Super Bowl appearances -- all losses), but at least they got to the Big Dance. Hall of Famer Dan Marino never won a Super Bowl. The Detroit Lions never came close to even getting there. Several "expansion" teams have won the World Series since the Cubbies made their last appearance in 1945, the year WWII ended. They lost.
But I'm getting a little off track here. Back to the title of this post. While the 76ers are indeed terrible, the Detroit Pistons aren't far behind when it comes to stinking it up. They currently sport a 3-15 record and have lost their last 10 in a row.
Not long ago, many were calling for ex-president of basketball operations Joe Dumars' head. They got it. He gone. After the death of long-time Pistons' owner and innovator Bill Davidson, the masses clamored for his inheriting widow to sell the team to someone who would take a genuine interest in the club and return them to their glory days. They got that too. Enter Tom Gores a few years back. He's sunk millions into sprucing up Davidson's original Palace. The coaching carousel had become one joke after another. Enter Stan Van Gundy, who was not only named head coach, but also president. He hired a couple guys that are evidently dual General Managers. So if Van Gundy the coach reports to the GMs, and the GMs report to the president (Van Gundy) -- then who's in charge of what? This isn't getting any better, and somewhere Joe Dumars is likely chuckling.
Nevertheless, as fate would have it, the Pistons will host the 76ers on Saturday, Dec. 6. These are two REALLY bad teams. The plankton of the NBA. Bragging rights are hardly at stake, but between two such sorry-ass also rans, somebody's gotta win. The other will slink off after absorbing yet another loss.
Does it even matter?
What's truly shameful, and a slap in the face to fans, is between the 30 combined players the Pistons and 76ers have under contract -- they will receive over 90 MILLION dollars in salaries this year. This, for a bunch of guys that are a collective 4-32 at something they're supposed to be world class at?
Something is REALLY wrong with this picture.